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Technical Q&A > boot a Linux VHD

Hi

Rather than partition my drive to install Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux. I read up about booting a VHD if Windows 7 is installed.

Can someone confirm whether I can create a Linux VHD, and mount this for boot and have the option with the bootloader.

I looked at the following blog to understand how it works
http://blogs.technet.com/virtualization/archive/2009/05/14/native-vhd-support-in-windows-7.aspx

I tried to do this and followed instructions in the blog. I now seem to get a bootloader with both Windows 7 and Kubuntu but when I try to boot up Kubuntu it boots windows instead.

I had a Kubuntu virtual machine I created in VMware workstation 7, I then used a free tool called starwind converter which allowed me to convert the VMware VMDK file into a Microsoft VHD.

Can anyone help me on this? Is booting via VHD supported for Linux systems or is it only Windows products?

To clarify, I'm not trying to run Linux in a VM. I'm trying to boot it in my physical machine, from a VHD.

March 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterRanj Bassi

unfortunately not from what i have heard.

QUOTE ("http://thelazyadmin.com/blogs/thelazyadmin/archive/2009/01/12/windows-7-boot-from-vhd.aspx")

* You can only boot a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 VHD
* You must configure the boot editor from a Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2 install
* You cannot use a Virtual PC VHD, I suggest a Hyper-V VHD
* You need to start with a clean slate, don’t try and reuse an old VHD

March 4, 2010 | Registered CommenterSupernova

Off topic a bit, but I think (not 100% sure of this), you can install Ubuntu to a USB memory stick and just double click the autorun from within Windows Explorer and it should run Ubuntu in a nice little window. I no it's a bit of a compromise, but it could help you in the short term. Not sure if it would work (never tried it, I could just be talking a load of bol***ks but it does that if you run the Live CD when Windows is booted up).

If the above fails, try installing to a USB Memory stick, reboot and boot from USB. It would pretty much offer you the same thing, but if this is for a production machine, I wouldn't do it.

Finally, you mention you converted from VMDK to VHD. It could be that your image is corrupt. Try the VHD in Virtual PC or VirtualBox to check it boots up. If it just crashes then it could be the bootloader for Windows is switching to the default OS when the one you select to boot up fails.

March 4, 2010 | Registered CommenterJamie

"but I think (not 100% sure of this), you can install Ubuntu to a USB memory stick and just double click the autorun from within Windows Explorer and it should run Ubuntu in a nice little window"

Its a special version of ubuntu called portable ubuntu it actually uses the colinux project basically it installs kernel level drivers. Really it isnt portable at all A. you need admin rights B. it alters your windows installation.

"converted from VMDK to VHD"

I'll say it again, a windows 7 bootable VHD and a Virtual PC VHD are different!

March 4, 2010 | Registered CommenterSupernova

I know, just a wee bit off topic, could you dual boot Windows 7 with an XP VHD or Vista VHD?

I think Ranj is going to have to rethink this, he could just try putting a small hard drive in his computer and boot from that or (if you can get this) an internal flash memory drive and install to those. I know you can dual boot Ubuntu and Windows, thousands of people do it.

March 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterJamie

"I think Ranj is going to have to rethink this, he could just try putting a small hard drive"

Grub 2 supports booting linux off ISO and virtual volumes with tweaking, however, if your having to mess about with windows boot options you might as well either install it alongside via wubi or install it on its own partition (backup and resize partitions). I would personally do the later so i could use ext and a swap partition.

[update] you could boot off a external USB harddisk. Most BIOS's will support it these days

"Windows 7 with an XP VHD or Vista VHD?"

let me cut n paste my original post again.......

* You can only boot a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 VHD

I'll explain, the changes needed to add that functionality (booting from a VHD i.e. via BCD) were made at the kernel level, and are not available prior to Windows 7 or Windows server 2008 R2.

March 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterSupernova

Ah, I know a lot of guys at school are getting into Windows 7 (one guy almost clueless about IT said he can switch to XP in seconds and switch back or something)...

Still, I might consider it yet, I have an ultimate DVD (not sure about the source, but hey) and I would be willing to give it a try.

March 6, 2010 | Registered CommenterJamie